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Challenge: Gratitude & Giving

To the mom whose medically complex child just passed away

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Over the next several days you will feel the full blown impact of your journey as it relates to others – so many texts, so many fb messages, so many cards in the mail. Many of them will start like "you don’t know me but….” They will be some of the deepest, kindest, loving words you will ever hear – often they will be from strangers.

You will only make it through these next few weeks on their love. Their words and gestures will gently carry you through these next several days. The human psyche was not meant to burden this alone and like knights in shinning armor, they will show up, Ride this feeling as long as their gust of love will carry you. You will have so much work to do on your own later – please let them carry you.

You will see strong people be weak, don’t let that scare you, feel their love. They will tell you about someone they know who lost a baby – they mean well. Be polite – this is hard for them too.

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They will want to help you – for goodness sake let them. Let them drop food at your door because you won't be ready to form coherent sentences for a while.

After everyone has begun to digest this loss, they will recede back to their own lives and that is when you will have a minute to breathe and begin to process. That’s when you will realize its 5 a.m. and you are not administering medication. The slave you once were to medical intervention is no more.

When you have a deep cut and it doesn’t bleed right away – then it flows unstopping – you are now in the heavy bleeding, my friend. Your politeness goes away, your gratefulness for support is temporarily seized and you are left with a shattered heart. Medical devices around your home may enrage you. Get rid of them immediately because your child was not his illness.

Everyone will be watching you in the next several weeks because they love you – not to make sure you’re okay so they can be okay – they genuinely love you. Try not to completely cut them out. Be honest, check in, but tell them you need a little time.

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You will sleep for a year. Your body has been in fight mode and you have been at war. Do not expect to be able to continue on as you did before. Please sleep. Tell your loved ones you are okay, if you are, but your body and mind are demanding rest. Turn it all off.

Men and women are two very different creatures when it comes to the death of their baby. Try and be gentle with your husband. Let him soldier on while you drown. You are a team, you both can’t drown. Try not to resent him when he seems okay/way better than you are.

You will need different people for different parts of this. You will need someone to cry so hard that snot drips off your face and you make sounds unnatural to the human ear. You will need someone to word vomit on who will not think you “are not doing well.” You will need friends who think you are “strong." You will need someone to see both sides of you – snot dripping and strong.

But don’t expect to get this from every person. You will change and so will your relationships. It’s not necessarily bad but may feel that way at the time.

Find something that smells like him, right now. Hold onto it. Never lose that smell.

You will actually smile and genuinely laugh again – as repulsive as it sounds right now.

You are now apart of a secret society. We don’t talk boastfully about it, but we proudly connect with the new members. It will take a long time to process this. But through it, we are here.

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